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Brace yourselves for return of Big Freeze

The Big Freeze is starting early -- as experts predict a week-long cold snap from Sunday.

Cold fronts from the Arctic will slash daytime temperatures next week and sleet and snow could be a possibility in northern areas.

Experts predict that this winter will mirror the last Big Freeze, since harsh winters occur in clusters, and frost and ice, as well as rain and sleet can be expected next week.

Met Eireann forecaster Joan Blackburn said: "There is a cold spell on our charts.

"The night-time temperatures are expected to be sub-zero, around -5 and -6C so certainly there will be very cold conditions.

"If there's fog in places, it could be slow to disappear during the day, then the temperatures could be around zero [during the day] next week."

Weather experts say they are not ruling out the possibility of snow, especially if weather conditions are unsettled next week.

Jonathan Powell from Experts Positive Weather Solutions, an independent forecaster said: "Further south there'll be rainy sleet but in the more northern areas there will be snow on higher grounds. The Arctic air will be pushing down across the country.


"Right across the country, we're looking at the very best to be three to five degrees by day and it'll comfortably be -2 to -3C by night.

"The main concern will be the sharp frost and the icy stretches on roads, and snow will accumulate in areas."

And while we won't experience a cold snap as long as last year, the Big Freeze could easily be repeated this winter.

"From this time next week, cold conditions are due to set in. It certainly is a short cold snap and a taster of things to come this winter. With the winter we had last year, you tend to get a cluster of them together, and this year will mirror or parallel last year," Mr Powell said.

"It'll be more broken up by mild spells than last year. It'll be as cold as last year, but not with as great a disruption," he added.

However, a white Christmas this year looks unlikely.

"The chance of a White Christmas is slender, but we won't rule it out," Mr Powell said.